Responding to rising tide of hate crime
“There is an unquestionable rising tide of hate crime in the UK, US and many other countries,” says Sir Peter Fahy, former Chief Constable of Greater Manchester and Chair of the We Stand Together charity. The recent attack on the Jewish community in New York captured world headlines but this week’s report from the Community Security Trust on the rising number of antisemitic attacks in the UK shows the depth of the challenge here.”
Figures from Greater Manchester Police in 2019 showed a 14% increase in hate crime with many minority groups suffering abuse, violence and damage to their property. Sir Peter said, “At one end of the spectrum we need to recognise the threat of far right terrorism where individuals aim to threaten and terrify whole communities and destabilise our society but below that there is a constant stream of day to day abuse that members of minority groups have come to accept as almost an occupational hazard. People need to decide whether this is the sort of world they want to live in, where people are targeted for who they are and personal characteristics they cannot change even if they wanted to.”
The We Stand Together charity was started to promote community cohesion and counter violent extremists trying to sow division and hatred through the impact of their attacks. It believes that, whilst governments can show leadership and strengthen legislation, the best way to prevent hate crime is through anti-discrimination work in schools and dialogue between individuals and groups at the local level.
Qaisra Shahraz, trustee and Co-Chair of We Stand Together’s Steering Group, said, “It is distressing to hear about the abuse that many Muslim and Jewish students say they suffer just going about their normal daily business be that out on the street or through what they see on social media. What used to be unacceptable views and language has now become mainstream and legitimate with discussions about issues such as immigration being poisoned.”
Jonny Wineberg, Director of Operations for We Stand Together, said, “Muslims and Jews are united in their concern about the rising numbers of hate crimes and many in both communities are fearful. Our anti-discrimination project for secondary schools is now live and our materials can be used by different community groups to initiate dialogue on difficult issues. At the same time we need people to stand together against those expressing hatred towards individuals and groups and we need victims to feel supported as those committing these crimes exploit vulnerability and feelings of isolation.”
We Stand Together’s new Anti-discrimination Pack is downloadable now at www.westandtogether.org.uk/WSTADP.pdf. It is available for free for anyone wanting to work for mutual understanding and respect and a country where all can practice free speech and free expression as long as that is not harmful to others.
#WeStandTogether is the UK’s Cohesion Charity, committed to build a safer and stronger UK, celebrating the country’s diversity and challenging intolerance and hatred.